ESA, IGDA: Threats, Personal Attacks Have No Place in Games

| 16 Oct 2014 10:50

The Entertainment Software Association and International Game Developers Association speak out in the New York Times and the Washington Post against GamerGate and harassment.

Spokespersons from the Entertainment Software Association and International Game Developers Association have both condemned the threats of violence and harassment sent to women in game development, journalism, and criticism. Speaking to the New York Times and the Washington Post, the ESA and IGDA agree this has no place in games.

The ongoing threats, including a shooting threat at USU which led feminist critic Anita Sarkeesian to cancel her speech, as well as threats that have led to independent game developer Brianna Wu leaving her home, have occurred during the movement GamerGate. Both Sarkeesian and Wu have alleged GamerGate was involved in the threats.

"Threats of violence and harassment are wrong," a spokesperson from the ESA, the E3 organizer and trade group, told the New York Times today in a front-page article of the newspaper. "They have to stop. There is no place in the video game community - or our society - for personal attacks and threats."

Kate Edwards, executive director of the IGDA, told the New York Times game companies have made some progress in the depiction of women in games. She cited the rebooted Tomb Raider's Lara Croft as an example of an emotionally complex character with more realistic proportions.

In the Washington Post Edwards spoke out against GamerGate and criticized the industry for catering to a demographic that is not supportive of women. "This group is out of touch. The whole community, the world around them has changed, but they think that's not the case," she said.

"The irony of this movement is that they want journalistic integrity, but are looking to squash the voices of women at all costs," she continued. "The logic is completely lacking."

Edwards told the Washington Post many women have approached her with their concerns of the industry, as they have considered leaving or discouraging other women from working in the game industry.

The IGDA began meeting with the FBI in June, before GamerGate began, to work together to prevent harassment of developers. Edwards had not talked directly to Sarkeesian but was using her situation to educate developers. The IGDA provides resources to developers with help from the FBI. The FBI was aware of other threats Sarkeesian has experienced and is investigating.

"One nice effect of this sad event is that it's tied developers together," Edwards said. "We need to be better at supporting each other not just during events like this, but all the time."

Source: New York Times, Washington Post

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